Creed launches ‘Energy in Agriculture’ exhibition

The fourth Energy in Agriculture Conference and Exhibition was launched yesterday, Thursday, July 18, by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed.

The conference will take place on Tuesday, August 20 at Gurteen Agricultural College, while yesterday’s launch took place at the farm of Michéal Looney in Macroom, Co. Cork.

The conference and exhibition is a joint venture between: Teagasc; Tipperary County Council; the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA); Tipperary Energy Agency; and Gurteen Agricultural College. The events main sponsor is the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

We need to improve our energy security by reducing our dependence on imported fossil fuels.

“At individual farm level, my department is committed, through TAMS [Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme] to support investment in renewable energy that will reduce the high cost of energy inputs,” said Minister Creed, speaking at the launch.

Such a move can also “provide an additional source of income for the business”, the minister argued.

“Energy in Agriculture is an extremely valuable event in creating such awareness of the benefits of renewable technologies in your business and the contacts and links made here will help you develop your business in the future,” he added.

Meanwhile, Teagasc energy and rural development specialist Barry Caslin explained that: “The next few years will see a dramatic uptake in renewable energy generation on farms.

“I am confident that renewable energy opportunities driven by a policy framework will open new opportunities in Irish agriculture,” added Caslin.

Also in attendance at the launch was Tom Short, the IFA’s Renewable Committee chairman, who argued that renewables based on farms and communities “must be the central part of future energy policy in Ireland.

“Long-term government investment in proven technologies, including solar PV, anaerobic digestion and microgeneration is required,” he added.

Speakers at the August conference will give insights on “real opportunities” to make financial savings and reduce energy consumption on the farm, according to Teagasc. Outdoor demonstrations will also be a feature of the event.

The conference is free to attend, and farmers will receive advice on renewable energy project development, as well as hearing from those who have been successful in incorporating renewable energy on their farms.